The tree memorial was created by the San Diego Association of Realtors and is outside the organization’s office at 4845 Ronson Court. The trees will remain lit until Christmas for the public to visit.
“Even though we’re 3000 miles away,” said Kim Holmes, San Diego Association of Realtors. “To let the people of Newtown, Conn. know that we here in San Diego mourn with them and we feel their pain. The entire nation is wrapping them up in prayer and lifting them up and they will not be forgotten.”
During a ceremony Thursday evening, the public lit candles and prayed before the tree lighting.
“By lighting these,” said Laurielynn Barnett, realtor. “Their spirit goes on.”
Ornaments on each tree bear the faces of the victims. Visitors can leave other ornaments, cards and gifts on the trees to be sent to Newtown after the holiday.
“We brought about six or seven little Christmas ornaments,” said Bud Churchill, San Diego resident. “That have been handed down from family members here and there. Those were the ones that went on. The store bought ones we still have on our trees. These had meaning and family behind it.”
Visitors said they’re glad to have a local memorial where they can pay their respects.
“I think that everybody is hurting,” said Barnett. “And it just gives us a place to come and be together and so much of healing from hurting is being together and having someone to share with.”